Sunday, June 28, 2015


And finally, Warner Brothers will stop selling toy replicas of the General Lee, the Dukes of Hazzard car with the confederate battle flag on its roof.  Now at last, the danger has ended.  We can all stop worrying about isolated young losers on psychotropic drugs going over the edge and committing mass murder at a bible study meeting.

The first thing we must understand about the Left's response to the killings of nine congregants at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, is that it represented an opportunity to advance a political agenda, and nothing more.  The ice-cold apparatchik Barack Obama, who attempted to politicize the event on the day of the killings, is utterly unmoved and untouched by the slaughter.  Hillary Clinton, who did the same thing a few days later, doesn't care either.  Neither do the network broadcasters and newspaper writers at left-wing media outlets like NBC, CBS, the NYT, etc., etc. etc.

All that matters is that the killings be used for something.  Obama and Hillary first tried to use it to advance gun control legislation, but that wouldn’t fly.  (The latest mantra is for “universal background checks,” but when it turned out the kid had passed a background check, there was no place to go with that idea, so it was dropped.)  But there was a confederate battle flag in one of the photos he posted of himself, so that became the campaign. It flies over a Civil War Memorial in Columbia, the state capitol, so it would have to be taken down.

“Fine,” said Nikki Haley, Republican governor of the state.  She would introduce legislation to remove it from the war memorial.

And then the mask fell off.  The battle flag at the memorial never had anything to do with the killings, of course, but in the heat of the emotional aftermath, an unreasoning demand to “do something” could be understood.  Nikki Haley understood it and acted accordingly.  At that point, the semi-plausible campaign of the Left to rid the state capitol of this supposedly racist symbol morphed instantly into farce.  Suddenly, removing the flag from the war memorial became “the least they could do” (--Jon Stewart).  Now streets across the old Confederate states had to be renamed, statues pulled down, products pulled from shelves at major retailers.  In an instant, it was decided that the South had to be cleansed of its culture and its history.  “Gone With The Wind” needed to be removed from circulation.  The Jefferson Memorial might need to be “re-thought.”   

Though the boy killer was apparently motivated by racist hatred of black people, the response of the Left seemed, oddly, unrelated to race hatred, the Civil War, segregation, and the like.  And that’s because it was unrelated.  The purpose of a campaign like this is not to get rid of the confederate flag or racist symbols.  Democrats and lefties don’t care about any of that.  In fact, the flag itself was installed by Democrats and defended by Democrats and is at the heart of the history of the Democratic Party.

Instead, this campaign, like so many others, is an attempt to get all of us accustomed to the de facto repeal of our First Amendment guarantees of free speech, and the trashing of our tradition of intellectual diversity.  When the Left tells us all to shut up, that we are offending their sensibilities, we must all now shut up.  Or be destroyed.

It is the same message driven home by campus speech codes, the same message learned the hard way by Brendon Eich, former CEO of Mozilla, who made the mistake of donating some money to the campaign for Prop 8 in California.  It’s well known to Republicans like Mitt Romney, who came to a public school in West Philly to talk about education policy during the 2012 campaign and was instead silenced by a jeering rabble under the direction of Mayor Michael Nutter.

And the purging of the confederate battle flag will not end here, of course.  It is only a matter of time before some guy is arrested for making “terrorist threats” or committing a hate crime because he accidentally parks his pick-up truck, with a confederate flag decal, across the street from a black church.  His truck gets confiscated, he faces three years of legal battles, and his life is destroyed.  That is how the Left works in 2015.

(During the recent shoot-em-up over a Draw-Muhammed contest in Garland, Texas, otherwise sensible people expressed the view that such events needlessly provoke rage and possible homicidal responses from Muslims and should be avoided.  The problem with this attitude is that it misunderstands the nature of the battlefield.  Muhammed has been depicted graphically for centuries, often by devote Muslims, so the position of jihadists that drawing Muhammed justifies murder is laughable.  The purpose of laying down this gauntlet is simply to attack our values, and demand acquiescence to the idea that our tradition of free expression is trumped by their faith.  If the entire Western world were to submit to these demands, there would be more demands, and then even more.  Just as the confederate flag flying over a war memorial instantly becomes Cooter’s car and Gone With The Wind, drawing Muhammed would segue into banning Porky Pig cartoons, or something equally ridiculous.  When speech is attacked, we must draw Muhammed, and we must fly the confederate flag.  Those who hate our values, whether they are jihadists or Democrats, are counting on us to back down, but if we want a free society, we cannot give an inch on these issues.)

The other aspect of this flag imbroglio that makes me want to scream is the response of Republicans to the demand that they condemn the confederate flag.  Every Republican presidential wannabe has been asked this question.  What would you do about the flag in Columbia, South Carolina?  Do you think it should be taken down in other places?  Do you think it’s right that Walmart and other retailers are pulling flag-related merchandise from their shelves?

Whatever the response has been, I haven’t heard one of them take this obvious softball and hit it out of the park.  I haven’t heard even one deliver the shiv-between-the-ribs answer this question deserves.

“But George (Chris, Rachel, David, Diane, whatever…), why are you asking ME this question?  Why are you asking Republicans this question at all?  It’s not our damn flag.  It belongs to the Democratic Party, the party that fought for slavery in the 1800’s, then fought for Jim Crow laws, then opposed the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1870, 1871, 1875, 1957 and 1964.  Why aren’t you asking the Democrats, who wouldn’t let a federal anti-lynching law be passed for a hundred years?  Why aren’t you interested in what Democrats think about this---you know, the Democrats who segregated the federal civil service, the Democrats who constituted 100% of the Ku Klux Klan, the Democrats who first decided to fly the confederate battle flag over the Capitol Building in Columbia, South Carolina????”


Sunday, June 14, 2015


In the summer of 1940, when my mother was 26 years old, one of the more significant events on her social calendar was a date for a dance at a country club just outside of Philadelphia. The young gentleman who had invited her (whose name has been lost to history), was apparently a country-clubbish sort of guy because (and this is really the only thing I know about him), he was playing tennis a couple weeks before the big dance and, as luck or fate would have it, broke his leg.

Sophie,” he said to her a few days later, “I'm sorry about this. I know you bought a new dress for this thing. Here, take the tickets. Find a guy who can dance with you. Enjoy yourself.”

At the time, my mother ran a beauty parlor at 9th and Spruce, in Philadelphia, and she shared her problem with the other girls in the shop. In a nutshell, she needed a date.

Beatrice, the shampoo girl at the time, a woman my mother would later fire, piped up. “My brother Stanley can dance. He's been at college in Michigan, but he's back now.”

Does he have a tuxedo?” It was the only question my mother asked about Stanley.

Yes,” said Beatrice.

OK. Talk to him.”

Stanley and Sophie were married sixteen months later, on December 26, 1941, right before my father's unit shipped out for WWII. My sister was born in late 1942. I was born in 1951. When my father died in 2001, our parents had been married almost sixty years.

My aunt Beatrice eventually forgave my mother for firing her.

A few years ago, when my son Tex was in high school, we bought him a used tuxedo for his birthday, and I shared with him my views on how important it is that a young man have a tuxedo. I told him this story.

Yes see, Tex,” I said, “Stanley Kubacki was a young man with some prospects but no money. He did, however, have a tuxedo, and if he had NOT had that tuxedo in the summer of 1940 when his sister came home from work one day and offered him a blind date, well.... Do you see the significance of this story, Tex?”

If he had not had a tuxedo, my grandmother and grandfather would never have met, would they?”

Probably not, Tex. And if they had never met, I would not exist.”

He thought about that for a bit.

Yes,” he said finally. “I see your point.”